Al Jazeera's director of news sent out a company-wide email Thursday — and asked his staff to leak it.
Authored by Salah Negm, the memo boasted about the news outlet's supposedly "diverse newsroom." According to Negm, as a result, "vibrant editorial discussions" often take place as the organization decides how to cover large news stories.
A journalist enters the Al Jazeera bureau in Berlin after a demonstration for the news organization's reporters currently in jail in Cairo, as well other journalists suffering from censorship or harassment, on February 27, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo: Adam Berry/Getty Images)
Negm's email comes just weeks after Al Jazeera ignited controversy when a set of leaked emails revealed executives implored staff to avoid characterizing the Charlie Hebdo attack as an assault on free speech.
Nevertheless, here's Negm's Thursday email, in full:
From: Salah Negm Sent: Thursday, January 29, 2015 4:43 PM To: All Staff Subject: To BE LEAKED
Another day and another leak from within, showing our vibrant editorial discussions inside the Al Jazeera newsroom. This latest leak follows a previous leaked email discussion about Charlie Hebdo and how our diverse newsroom of 50 nationalities were discussing how best to take the story forward.
I would like to state that our style guide and our editorial discussion is no secret, so these so-called "leaks" don't, in my opinion, prove anything sinister within the newsrooms of Al Jazeera Media Network. We thrive in broadcasting to the world in its diversity.
Our editorial discussions are proof that we aspire to be as objective as possible in our coverage, language and tone.
I, as Director of News, advocate that we never leave a point of view out, while we also reach any editorial decisions which are editorially correct and not necessarily politically correct.
I, of course, believe that to be really objective we will not satisfy all, especially people who are parties in a conflict or hold diehard, ideologically driven views who are also our audiences, but a small part of the 220 million households we reach around the world.
Others may interpret these leaks as an attempt from one of the above mentioned to spread the false notion that we as Al Jazeera are creating fear or self-censorship amongst our journalists and journalism or try by these leaks to intimidate and create the self-censorship or fear among them.
However, I personally find these leaks a blessing as people can see for themselves the logic and explanation behind our decisions of our commitment for objectivity and the aspiration to convey news without bias.
Whoever forwarded these emails to their friends, I personally thank you for offering a huge service to our channel. I have always been in favour of being transparent and open - we have nothing to hide.
In the future we will put all our style guide and editorial guidelines online for public consumption, because there is nothing that we hide and nothing that we are afraid of.
I hold dear that our newsrooms are transparent, whether on why we use certain terms on our platforms and why we give certain stories certain treatments, to the extent I even have entertained the idea of putting our editorial meetings live on air for all to see.
On second thought, as it might be informative it also might not be of interest for everyone of the audience to see.
Attempts made to distort and intimidate media organisations in some countries have been successful and it sadly resulted in the real self-censorship and polarisation of journalism and journalists.
It is, as I call it, a new form of subtle McCarthyism of our age.
Over the past 24 hours I have seen various news outlets that, it seems, have their own agendas to discredit Al Jazeera with their overanalysing of a simple email which laid down the facts.
I advocate our newsroom and editorial staff continue to deal with pure facts, balanced coverage and clear terminology and of course please raise your voice with queries or concerns in our vibrant and open discussions everyday in our editorial meetings.
So please, Mr or Ms Unknown leaker, continue to leak this ... and more :)
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